Maine proposal would give local governments more say over marijuana businesses

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A proposed amendment to a sweeping medical marijuana regulatory overhaul in Maine would give local governments much more power over the cannabis industry and may result in widespread closures of caregiver shops that have sprouted up across the state.

According to the Portland Press Herald, “dozens” of such caregiver storefronts have opened in municipalities around Maine and are direct competitors to the eight state-licensed dispensaries.

Many caregivers have been able to exploit a regulatory loophole that now allows them to serve hundreds of patients a year, the Press Herald reported.

The newspaper noted that situation is in contrast to the intent of the law, which was to limit caregivers to five patients apiece.

Maine’s dispensaries are applauding the proposal because they deal with stricter regulatory oversight than caregiver shops do. Many dispensary owners blame the caregiver shops for a downturn in their sales last year.

Also supporting the amendment at the Legislature is the Maine Municipal Association.

If approved by the Legislature, the amendment would mean local governments would have more direct legal authority to close caregiver shops. The change would also explicitly give cities and counties the power to ban all marijuana businesses, whether medical or recreational.